Falls under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) 504 plans
are developed by school teams and parents to support the
educational needs of a K–12 student with a disability that
“substantially limits one or more major life activity” such as:
learning, speaking, listening, reading, writing, concentrating,
caring for oneself, etc. A 504 plan is often selected as an option
for a K–12 student if:
The child has an identified learning disability (LD) or
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) but
does not meet the requirements of IDEA for special
education services and supports
The child is currently receiving informal accommodations
or ongoing support at school.
The child’s disability does not meet the criteria for any of
the 13 disability classifications.
Academic Intervention Services Academic Intervention Services
(AIS) are available to students in all schools. A team of schoolbased educational professionals determine the academic
intervention needs of students in the school, develop targeted
strategies for assessing students, and determine methods for
dealing with academic problems. Schools' educators monitor on
an ongoing basis whether these methods are resulting in increased
learning and achievement.
Adapted Physical Education Adapted Physical Education is
physical education which has been adapted or modified, so that it
is as appropriate for the person with a disability as it is for a
person without a disability.
Autism A developmental disability significantly affecting verbal
and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally
evident before age three, which adversely affects a child's
educational performance. Other characteristics often associated
with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped
movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily
routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.
Autism does not apply if a child's educational performance is
adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional
Most practitioners and educators believe autism is a “spectrum”
disorder, a group of disorders with similar features, which can
range from mild to severe: referred to as “Autism Spectrum
Assistive Technology devices are mechanical aids which
substitute for or enhance the function of some physical or mental
ability that is impaired. Assistive technology can be anything
homemade, purchased off the shelf, modified, or commercially
available which is used to help an individual perform some task of
Defense: Question any causation
analysis linking lead to cognitive deficits
or impairment of executive functioning.
There is no study associating lead with
Plaintiff: There are cases involving
aspects of autism which have been
successfully settled with very good
settlement amounts. There are recent
studies available linking autism and
autistic symptoms to lead poisoning.
(See Lidsky & Schneider, 2005)
CTE - Career
BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) Students
can attend BOCES for a variety of general and/or educational
programs. Alternative Education and Career and Technical
Education (formerly Vo-tech) are general education programs.
Students typically are sent to Alternative Education due to
behavioral or academic issues that cannot be remediated at the
home school. Career and technical Education is available for
students in their Junior year. Students attending CTE do not have
to take Math or Science at their home school. Additionally English
is provided for their Senior year. A career based Math and Science
are offered for Juniors and Seniors and Senior English is provided
for students as well.
BOCES offers a variety of special class programs and is not
considered a special education school. They provide specialized
self-contained classrooms for students that Districts could not
DCT – Direct
Consultant Teacher CT services are defined as direct and/or
indirect services provided to a school-age student with a disability
in the student's general education classes, including career and
technical education classes, and/or to such student’s general
Direct CT services mean specially designed instruction
provided to an individual student with a disability or to
a group of students with disabilities by a certified
special education teacher to aid the student(s) to benefit
from the general education class instruction. Direct CT
can be combined with indirect CT services.
Indirect CT services mean consultation provided by a
certified special education teacher to a general
education teacher to assist the general education teacher
in adjusting the learning environment and/or modifying
his/her instructional methods to meet the individual
needs of a student with a disability who attends the
general education class. Indirect CT can be combined
with direct CT services.
Developmental Delay For children from birth to age three (under
IDEA Part C) and children from ages three through nine (under
IDEA Part B), the term developmental delay, as defined by each
State, means a delay in one or more of the following areas: physical
development, cognitive development, communication, social or
emotional development, or adaptive (behavioral) development.
Defense: Red flag; look for
psychological testing confirming such
diagnoses. Did this diagnosis follow the
student through high school or highest
grade completed? If not, are there any
additional psychological tests that would
warrant removal of diagnosis?
(See MD DD Guidance Document)
Plaintiff: Make sure that the
developmental delays do not pre-date
your exposure. Highlight the diagnoses
through- out the school records to
support your allegations of injuries.
Look specifically within the records for a
reference in the child’s medical history
for exposure to lead. It will often be
BIS -Behavior A Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) takes the observations made
in a Functional Behavioral Assessment and turns them into a
concrete plan of action for managing a student's behavior. A BIP
may include ways to change the environment to keep behavior from
starting in the first place, provide positive reinforcement to promote
good behavior, employ planned ignoring to avoid reinforcing bad
behavior, and provide supports needed so that the student will not
be driven to act out due to frustration or fatigue. When a behavior
plan is agreed to, the school and staff are legally obligated to follow
it, and consequences of not following it should not be inflicted on
Emotional Disturbance A condition exhibiting one or more of the
following characteristics over a long period of time, and to a
marked degree, that adversely affects a child's educational
An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual,
sensory, or health factors;
An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal
relationships with peers and teachers;
Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal
A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression;
A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated
with personal or school problems.
Emotional disability includes schizophrenia. The term does not
apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is
determined that they have an emotional disability
Defense: Red flag for obtaining DSS
records. Look for criminal history in
immediate family. Consider obtaining
psychiatric evaluation by Forensic
Plaintiff: Use study literature that links
emotional behavior to lead. Make sure
your expert is well aware of any
potential circumstances referenced
within the school records as potential
factors for emotional disturbance. At
trial, redact any hearsay statements.
Extended School Year (ESY) services are provided beyond the
regular school year to eligible students receiving special education
services. ESY services are designed to meet specific objectives in a
student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). ESY is not
simply the extension of the school year, an automatic summer
school placement, or a summer enrichment program; nor does
every student with a disability require ESY. In fact, ESY may be
appropriate for a relatively small number of students with
disabilities. However, the IEP team is legally obligated to consider
and evaluate the appropriateness of ESY eligibility at the annual
review meeting for any student receiving special education
services. ESY services vary in type, intensity, location, inclusion of
related services, and length of time, depending on the student’s
Some data used to determine ESY include: regression,
recoupment, long term illness, life skill necessity.
Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is an educational
right of children with disabilities which is guaranteed by the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and IDEA. Under the IDEA, FAPE is
defined as an educational program that is individualized to a
specific child, designed to meet that child's unique needs, provides
access to the general curriculum, meets the grade-level standards
established by the state, and from which the child receives
educational benefit. To provide FAPE to a child with a disability,
schools must provide students with an education, including
specialized instruction and related services that prepares the child
for further education, employment, and independent living.
Defense: Note the difference between
summer school an ESY. Solely because
a plaintiff has ESY does not mean that
she failed certain classes during the main
Plaintiff: Highlight ESY placement as it
depicts a serious need for additional
Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) is an attempt to look
beyond the obvious interpretation of behavior as "bad" and
determine what function it may be serving for a child. Truly
understanding why a child behaves the way he or she does is the
first, best step to developing strategies to stop the behavior. Schools
are required by law to use FBA when dealing with challenging
behavior in students with special needs, although you may need to
specifically push for it. The process usually involves documenting
the antecedent (what comes before the behavior), behavior, and
consequence (what happens after the behavior) over a number of
weeks; interviewing teachers, parents, and others who work with
the child; evaluating how the child's disability may affect behavior;
and manipulating the environment to see if a way can be found to
avoid the behavior.
Hearing Impairment An impairment in hearing, whether
permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child's
educational performance but that is not included under the
definition of deafness in this section.
Integrated Co-Teaching Integrated co-teaching services, as
defined in regulation, means the provision of specially designed
instruction and academic instruction provided to a group of
students with disabilities and non-disabled students.
Intellectual Disability Significantly subaverage general
intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in
adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period
that adversely affects a child's educational performance.
An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) documents and
guides the early intervention process for young children with
disabilities and their families before they enter Kindergarten. It
contains information about the services necessary to facilitate a
child's development and enhance the family's capacity to support
the child's development. Through the IFSP process, family
members and service providers work as a team to plan, implement,
and evaluate services specific to the family's concerns, priorities,
and available resources. A service coordinator then helps the
family by coordinating the services outlined in the IFSP.
Instructional Support Team The Instructional Support Team
(IST) is an innovative program whose goals are to maximize
individual student success in the regular classroom, while at the
same time serving as a screening process for students who may be
in a need of special education services. IST is a positive, successoriented program which uses specific assessment and intervention
techniques to help remove educational, behavioral, or affective
stumbling blocks for all students in the regular classroom.
Least Restrictive Environment: Implementing the IDEA
provision of Least Restrictive Environment means that, to the
maximum extent appropriate, school districts must educate students
with disabilities in the regular classroom with appropriate aids and
supports, referred to as "supplementary aids and services, " along
with their nondisabled peers in the school they would attend if not
disabled, unless a student's IEP requires some other arrangement.
The regular classroom in the school the student would attend if not
disabled is the first placement option considered for each student
with disabilities before a more restrictive placement is considered.
Multiple Disabilities Concomitant impairments (such as
intellectual disability-blindness or intellectual disability-orthopedic
impairment), the combination of which causes such severe
educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special
education programs solely for one of the impairments. Multiple
disabilities does not include deaf-blindness.
Modified High School Assessment (Maryland Only). Students
receiving special education services and meets specified criteria
take this form of alternative assessment. MD has four types of
assessments including the MSA (Maryland School Assessment;
Grades 3-8) the HAS (High School Assessment) the MOD-HAS
(described above) and the ALT-MSA for students receiving special
education services. Students taking the Mod-HSA or the ALTMSA would indicate a more severe cognitive disability.
The NYSAA (New York State Alternative Assessment) is a
datafolio-style assessment in which students with severe cognitive
disabilities demonstrate their performance toward achieving the
New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards in English
language arts and mathematics. In addition, this assessment
measures the New York State Learning Standards and Core
Curriculum in science and social studies.
Other Health Impairment Having limited strength, vitality, or
alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli,
that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational
environment. Is due to chronic or acute health problems such as
asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead
poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia,
and Tourette syndrome.
Orthopedic Impairment A severe orthopedic impairment that
adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term
includes impairments caused by a congenital anomaly, impairments
caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis), and
impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputations,
and fractures or burns that cause contractures).
Resource Room is a special education program for a student with a
disability registered in either a special class or general education
class who is in need of specialized supplementary instruction in an
individual or small group setting for a portion of the school day.
Resource room programs are for the purpose of supplementing the
general education or special education classroom instruction of
students with disabilities who are in need of such supplemental
programs. This means that instruction is not provided in place of
the student's regular academic instruction.
Response to Intervention Response to intervention integrates
assessment and intervention within a multi-level prevention system
to maximize student achievement and to reduce behavior problems.
With RTI, schools identify students at risk for poor learning
outcomes, monitor student progress, provide evidence-based
interventions and adjust the intensity and nature of those
interventions depending on a student’s responsiveness, and identify
students with learning disabilities.
Specific Learning Disability A disorder in one or more of the
basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using
language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in the
imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do
mathematical calculations. It includes such conditions as
perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction,
dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.
Special class means a class consisting of students with disabilities
who have been grouped together because of similarity of individual
needs (see question #6) for the purpose of receiving specially
designed instruction in a self-contained setting, meaning that such
students are receiving their primary instruction separate from their
The maximum class size for special classes containing students
whose management needs are determined to be intensive, and
requiring a significant degree of individualized attention and
intervention, cannot exceed eight students, with one or more
supplementary school personnel assigned to each class during
periods of instruction
Speech or Language Impairment A communication disorder,
such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or
a voice impairment, that adversely affects a child's educational
Teacher Aide Perform non-instructional duties under supervision
determined by the local school district in accordance with Civil
Service Law. Students often receive this support due to behavioral
The maximum class size for special classes containing students
whose management needs are determined to be highly intensive,
and requiring a high degree of individualized attention and
intervention, cannot exceed six students, with one or more
supplementary school personnel assigned to each class during
periods of instruction.
3:1- Aide – 3
or medical needs that cannot be supported by classroom teacher.
Traumatic Brain Injury An acquired injury to the brain caused
by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional
disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely
affects a child's educational performance.
Traumatic brain injury applies to open or closed head injuries
resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition,
language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking,
judgment, problem-solving, sensory, perceptual, and motor
abilities, psychosocial behavior, physical functions, information
processing, and speech.
Traumatic brain injury does not apply to brain injuries that are
congenital or degenerative, or to brain injuries induced by birth